Background: An important concern of healthcare professionals when exploring the wish to hasten death with patients is the risk of causing them some type of distress.
Aim: To assess the opinion of hospitalized patients with advanced cancer about the proactive assessment of the wish to hasten death.
Design: Descriptive, cross-sectional study.
Setting/participants: We assessed 193 advanced cancer patients admitted to an oncology ward for the wish to hasten death using a semi-structured clinical interview. After the assessment the participants were surveyed to determine whether they found the interview upsetting and, if so to what extent, and also their opinion regarding the assessment’s importance.
Results: The wish to hasten death was reported by 46 (23.8%) patients. The majority of patients (94.8%) did not find talking about the wish to hasten death to be upsetting, regardless of whether they presented it or not. The majority of patients (79.3%) considered that it was either quite or extremely important for the clinician to proactively assess the wish to hasten death and discuss this topic, regardless of whether they experienced it.
Conclusions: In this study, most of the advanced cancer patients did not find the assessment of wish to hasten death to be upsetting, and a substantial proportion of patients in this study believe that it is important to routinely evaluate it in this setting. These findings suggest that healthcare professionals can explore the wish to hasten death proactively in routine clinical practice without fear of upsetting patients.
Despite the alarming suicide rate among South Korean emerging adults, relatively little is known about their unfettered perspectives on death and suicide. Therefore, an innovative data collection technique was developed to apprehend the meanings that emerging adults attribute to death and suicide in their explorations of the phenomena through a selection of short stories. A convenience sample (N = 114) responded to a survey in which participants transferred their feelings toward death and suicide to characters or events in the short stories. A qualitative content analysis revealed relatively permissive perspectives toward death and suicide. Negative perspectives on death are associated with societal victimization and positive perspectives with naturalistic fatalism. Positive perspectives on suicide are overwhelmingly rooted in existential, individual choices while negative perspectives focus on societal pressures. These perspectives contribute to illuminating tensions between traditionalist collectivism and contemporary individualism in Korean society that could inform suicide prevention initiatives for emerging adults.
CONTEXT: Many jurisdictions around the world have passed medical aid in dying laws allowing competent, eligible individuals facing life-limiting illness to self-administer prescribed medication to control timing of death. These laws do not prevent some patients who are receiving hospice services from dying by suicide without assistance.
OBJECTIVES: To explore hospice professionals' experiences of patients who die by suicide or intentionally hasten death with or without legal assistance in an area where there is legalized medical aid in dying.
METHODS: Semi-structured in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with twenty-one home hospice professionals (7 nurses, 7 social workers, 4 physicians, 3 chaplains). Thematic analysis was carried out to analyze the data.
RESULTS: Three primary themes were identified from the interviews: 1) dealing with and differentiating between hastened death and suicide, 2) medical aid in dying access and affordability, and 3) how patients have hastened their own deaths. Analysis of these data indicates there are some patients receiving hospice services who die by suicide because they are not eligible for, have no knowledge of, or lack access to legalised medical aid in dying. Hospice professionals do not consistently identify patients' deaths as suicide when they are self-inflicted and sometimes view these deaths as justified.
CONCLUSION: Suicide and hastened deaths continue to be an unexamined cause of death for some home hospice patients who may have requested medical aid in dying. Open communication and increased education and training is needed for palliative care professionals regarding legal options, issues of suicide and suicide assessment.
Despite the increasing number of people being bereaved by suicide, little is understood concerning the experiences of those bereaved by suicide as they struggle to make sense of a loved one’s death. The current study explored the experiences of four mothers who had been bereaved by suicide and the role of support groups in the meaning-making process following bereavement by suicide. Participants were interviewed and transcribed interviews were then analysed from an interpretative phenomenological perspective. Four main themes were identified: Continuing role of the mother; A never-ending quest; Finding sanctuary; and Rising up from the ashes. These themes relate to a range of emotions following bereavement by suicide, the meaning-making process, the social context and the role of the support group. Clinical implications are discussed in relation to these findings.
The United States military began to experience a steady increase in suicide rates across all service branches at the inception of the wars in Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003). As the number of suicide deaths increased, so did the number of affected survivors who seek postvention support. Unique issues that accompany suicide death may expose survivors to a more distressing and complicated grief process. Peer support has clinically been observed to be widely utilized by suicide loss survivors. This article explores unique issues accompanying military suicide loss, potential benefits of postvention peer-based support, clinical considerations, and future directions.
This article chronicles the process of reducing the 10 week restorative retelling (RR) group model (Rynearson & Correa, Accommodation to violent dying: A guide to restorative retelling and support, Violent Death Bereavement Society, 2006) into a 3 day retreat for families of homicide loss. Strategies used to address the intensity of the condensed version of the treatment model are described for both the participants and treatment team. The twists and turns of how the therapeutic retreat unfolded are presented through case examples. The authors explicate the risks and rewards of conducting the RR model at speed, identify the challenges they faced, and give impressions for overall treatment efficacy.
Reenactment imagery that remains fixating after violent dying is associated with diminished psychological resilience. The nonresilient teller struggles to maintain an integrative orientation within the recounting. Reestablishing the resilient capacities of pacification (mastery of terror through self-calming), partition (mastery of intrusive thoughts through self-differentiation), and perspective (mastery of self-determination through self-transcendence) is an important preparatory goal with intervention. Without these resilient capacities, premature exposure increases the risk that patients will experience a dysfunctional merger with the possessive reenactment representation. A preliminary model of resilient “offenses” to be reinforced in the traumatized subject as a first stage of intervention is presented.
The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the characteristics of posttraumatic growth arising from losing an immediate family member to suicide in Korea. We used interpretative phenomenological analysis for data collection and analysis and conducted in-depth interviews with 11 participants in Korea to evaluate the positive changes subsequent to the suicide. Participants revealed positive outcomes in response to losing an immediate family member to suicide after suffering the “most unimaginable pain” including (a) “Now I know what the most important thing in life is,” (b) “Warm and intimate relationships matter,” and (c) “Survivors of suicide’s search for meaning.” The implications of these findings and avenues for future research are discussed.
The new technologies have changed the rituals related to death: Creation of memorial webpages and of virtual tombs, celebration of death anniversaries are now common currency on the Internet. In spite of their disappearance among the living, the deceased continue to exist on the Web. They still receive messages from their relatives but also from strangers and are at the heart of discussions, prolonging their presence. New technologies have led to a new concept of time and of “where life ends.” Through the analysis of Facebook’s accounts devoted to Turkish martyrs, this article aimed to describe the new funeral rituals seen on the Internet.
Counseling professionals and graduate students (N = 117) recruited online read a randomly assigned one-paragraph vignette about either a nonrational or rational suicide involving an imaginary loved one. Then, they completed the Grief Experiences Questionnaire (GEQ) about how they would feel. The nonrational suicide group expected significantly more search for explanation than the rational suicide group but was not significantly different on the other six GEQ subscales. All participants expected few distressing reactions to either vignette, suggesting a one-paragraph vignette may not be sufficient to induce the kind of grief many experience when a loved one dies by suicide.
Alors que le suicide est dépénalisé depuis plus de deux siècles dans nos pays, inciter une personne à se supprimer ou y contribuer activement est d'ordinaire puni par la loi et réprouvé par l'éthique. Démêler ce paradoxe et rendre plus intelligible un acte qui ne le sera peut-être jamais est le but de cet ouvrage. Qu'en ont dit les grands penseurs, des stoïciens jusqu'à saint Augustin, Thomas d'Aquin, Hume, Kant ou Emile Durkheim ? Et aujourd'hui, que peuvent nous apprendre le psychiatre et le travailleur social, le théologien et le médecin en soins palliatifs, ou encore l'économiste, qui lève ici le voile sur un tabou occidental ? Car le suicide d'une personne questionne les valeurs sur lesquelles reposent nos démocraties, comme la dignité humaine, la liberté ou la solidarité.
Un livre indispensable à toute discussion raisonnable sur l'euthanasie, l'aide au suicide et la prévention d'actes suicidaires.
Recent research has highlighted that the number of people impacted by a death by suicide is far greater than previously estimated and includes wider networks beyond close family members. It is important to understand the ways in which suicide impacts different groups within these wider networks so that safe and appropriate postvention support can be developed and delivered. A systematic review in the form of a qualitative research synthesis was undertaken with the aim of addressing the question 'what are the features of the experiences of workers in health, education or social care roles following the death by suicide of a client, patient, student or service user?' The analysis developed three categories of themes, 'Horror, shock and trauma', 'Scrutiny, judgement and blame', and 'Support, learning and living with'. The mechanisms of absolution and incrimination were perceived to impact upon practitioners' experiences within social and cultural contexts. Practitioners need to feel prepared for the potential impacts of a suicide and should be offered targeted postvention support to help them in processing their responses and in developing narratives that enable continued safe practice. Postvention responses need to be contextualised socially, culturally and organisationally so that they are sensitive to individual need.
This article analyzes suicidal behavior and how its inherent processes of death ideation can overlap with those seeking euthanasia. We present a literature review of three main events in suicide (suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, and suicide) in different populations and evaluate implications for health-care practice and risk assessment taking into account the context of euthanasia. We ponder upon the motives behind suicide and its link with wish to die requests to hasten death. We discuss the possibility of the reversal of a wish to die as well as a potential process of differentiating between individuals who would maintain their wish and benefit from termination of life and others who would later change their minds.
BACKGROUND: Laws allowing assisted suicide and euthanasia have been implemented in many locations around the world but some individuals suffering with terminal illness receiving palliative care services are hastening death or die by suicide without assistance. This systematic review aims to summarise evidence of palliative care professionals' experiences of patients who died by suicide or hastened death in areas where assisted dying is legal and to understand when hastened death is considered to be a suicide.
METHODS: AMED, CINAHL Complete, PsycINFO, PubMED, and Academic Search Ultimate were searched for articles from inception through June 2018. Quality assessment used the Hawker framework.
RESULTS: A total of 1518 titles were screened resulting in thirty studies meeting eligibility criteria for this review. Published studies about professionals' experiences from areas with legalised assisted dying includes limited information about patients who hasten death outside legal guidelines, die by suicide without assistance, or if the law impacts suicide among palliative care patients.
CONCLUSION: There are a range of experiences and emotions professionals' experience with patients who die by euthanasia, assisted suicide, or hasten death without assistance. The included literature suggests improved communication among professionals is needed but does not explicitly identify when a hastened death is deemed a suicide in areas where assisted dying is practiced. More research is needed to help clarify what hastened death means in a palliative care context and identify how and if assisted dying impacts issues of suicide in palliative care settings.
OBJECTIVE: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is common in patients diagnosed with advanced cancer (AC), with a prevalence of 16.5%. It is associated with great disability and worsened quality of life, increased number and intensity of physical symptoms, and lower survival. It is the main factor for the presence of suicidal ideation. Antidepressants show modest efficacy, and response requires several weeks. Ketamine has demonstrated a fast and robust antidepressant effect in subanesthetic doses. This effect may prove useful in patients with AC, MDD, and suicidal risk.
METHOD: We report a case of a patient with advanced cervical cancer who presented with uncontrollable pain, MDD, and a suicide attempt.
RESULT: A 39-year-old woman diagnosed with cervical cancer stage IVB presented to the Emergency Department after a suicide attempt by hanging. Upon evaluation by the palliative care psychiatrist, she reported intense pain, unresponsive to analgesics, and had a history of persistent suicidal ideation. Antidepressant treatment was started (sertraline 50mg/d) after a single dose of ketamine hydrochloride IV (0.5 mg/kg) was administered. Treatment response was measured using the Brief Edinburgh Depression Scale before and after the intervention. The depressive symptoms decreased by 17% on day 1, 39% on day 3, and 72% on day 17.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: This case report shows ketamine's efficacy as an augmentation agent alongside conventional antidepressant treatment in patients with AC. Moreover, it shows rapid response in suicidal ideation that has not been achieved with treatment as usual. More clinical trials are needed to support the potential benefit and safety of ketamine in patients with AC, MDD, and persisting suicidal ideation.
Le thème de la mort chez les jeunes est l’objet de nombreuses recherches de toutes les disciplines des sciences humaines et sociales. En premier lieu, relevons l’analyse des dimensions touchant le suicide dans cette population. L’étude des représentations sociales entourant le suicide met ainsi en évidence des dimensions socioculturelles pour expliquer sa signification, les facteurs de prévalence, les croyances qui le sous-tendent et leurs liens avec la dimension religieuse (Mereus, 2006). Les données sur les idéations suicidaires et les conduites suicidaires issues de recherches dans plusieurs contextes nationaux démontrent la variabilité des prévalences, des stratégies et des déterminants identitaires, psychologiques et socio-économiques (Peyre et al., 2014; Caron et Robitaille, 2007; Volant, 2006; Belloc, Leichsenring et Chabrol, 2004) et mettent en évidence des enjeux éthiques (Corriveau et al., 2016) tout en soulignant l’importance des campagnes de prévention et des suivis psychologiques.
Although male suicide has received research attention, the gendered experiences of men bereaved by male suicide are poorly understood. Addressing this knowledge gap, we share findings drawn from a photovoice study of Canadian-based men who had lost a male friend, partner, or family member to suicide. Two categories depicting the men's overall account of the suicide were inductively derived: (a) unforeseen suicide and (b) rationalized suicide. The "unforeseen suicides" referred to deaths that occurred without warning wherein participants spoke to tensions between having no idea that the deceased was at risk while reflecting on what they might have done to prevent the suicide. In contrast, "rationalized suicides" detailed an array of preexisting risk factors including mental illness and/or substance overuse to discuss cause-effect scenarios. Commonalities in unforeseen and rationalized suicides are discussed in the overarching theme, "managing emotions" whereby participants distanced themselves, but also drew meaning from the suicide.
Head and neck cancer affects vital functions of speech, swallowing, breathing, and appearance. Overall survival remains poor and symptom burden is high for both patients with incurable disease at the end of life and for long-term survivors. Early and concurrent palliative care helps guide treatment decision making and support quality of life during and after treatment. Both narrative competence and directive counsel can affect the concordance of patient goals and tolerance of treatment and outcomes.
This research aimed to explore the role of workplace responses in psychologists’ adaptation to client suicides. Participants were 178 psychologists who completed an online self-report questionnaire which included both open and closed questions yielding qualitative and quantitative data. Fifty-six (31.5%) participants reported one or more client suicides. Mixed results were found in terms of perceived support from the workplace following a client suicide. Psychologists reported a need for more open communication in the workplace, peer supports, space to grieve, as well as opportunities to engage in a learning process. The findings have important implications for research and for understanding the role of the workplace postvention. It also raises the need for external support to be accessible for psychologists working in private practice.